Terrorist attacks in Brussels sees security stepped up
The anticipated getaway for Easter has been marred by the two terrorist attacks in Brussels, firstly at Brussels Zaventem airport after 7am UK time on Tuesday, followed by a blast at Brussels’ Maelbeek metro station. Confirmed casualties at the two places reveal that 34 people died, with more than 250 reported injured. The result of the two attacks meant that flights in an out of Brussels were cancelled, with the airport closed on Wednesday. Public transport in the Belgian capital was shut down as the authorities in the country raised the terror threat to the highest possible level, which also saw the Belgium-France border closed. This also affected Eurostar, but they did resume a restricted service on Tuesday afternoon.
Naturally the attacks have mean that agents as well as operators have been very busy re-arranging travel itineraries a keeping people informed of the current situation. One such company Barrhead Travel had a group of 21 students on an educational trip, who were en-route to Brussels Airport and the firm arranged for their return home.
Coincidentally these attacks took place as research for Travel Weekly showed that fear of terrorism is now a major factor and certainly the biggest concern for overseas travellers. This research revealed that 35% of those planning an overseas holiday admitting concern about attacks while they are away. It also showed that a majority 53% would change destination or cancel a holiday, should an incident involving terrorist occur close to or in their destination.
Travel industry consultant Andy Cooper went further by suggesting that there may be some people who may cancel their travel arrangements but implored people to allow more time to get through security. He descried the two attacks as horrific and in security incident such as these a knee jerk reaction was to be expected, but said we need a balanced response. He also warned that no matter where you go there is danger of a threat, saying that this has underlined the vulnerability of airports. Because the explosions that occurred at Brussels airport were landside, he said he would not be at all surprised if access to airport building becomes restricted which would cause chaos. The Airport Operators Association declined to comment on the implications for airport security.
The attacks have had an effect on the stock market with shares in listed travel firms falling most sharply.